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March 4, 2020

"No B.S." is No Reality to this Marketer

The communication that marketing professionals create in the B2B world is often labelled “fluff”: content of no true consequence to steely-eyed business people who are savvy enough to recognize and shunt aside such B.S. as they focus unerringly on “hard facts.” (At least, that’s what they want us to think.) But I’ll give you two reasons why that statement is fallacious.

  1. It assumes that the audience will recognize “hard facts” when faced with them.
  2. Good communication influences its audience more than they’ll recognize — and far more than they’ll ever admit.
If I sound jaundiced, I’ve been dealing with this mindset in corporate America for over three decades now, and I think it’s going to outlast me.
How we communicate and receive messages is vastly complex, nuanced, and highly dependent on immediate context. Just for grins, I reached over to my bookshelf and dragged out a copy of my textbook from an interpersonal communication theory class I took in California in the 1970’s. For some reason, this communication model has stuck with me over the years.
Briefly, “P1” and “P2” are people, a sales person and a customer for example. The model traces the perceptions, messages, and public and private cues influencing the transmission and reception of messages as they speak to each other.
I’m not sharing this so anyone can become better educated over what is certainly by now an outdated model; but this does hint at the extraordinary complexity of human communication. Hence my earlier point that virtually no business person (or anyone else for that matter) will ever appreciate just what happens when we communicate, let alone how powerful skillfully crafted communication can be.
This is really a massive topic; I can’t possibly do it justice in anything short of a book treatment. Fortunately, there are numerous good ones already out there.
(The model depicted is from Prof. Gary Cronkhite’s “Communication and Awareness,” page 42.)

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